By Leonard Quilty
If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy. If a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you. If the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.
~ Eleanora Duse
As I write this, I’m glancing out the window of the local library. Just now a flock of birds (they resemble small pigeons) are dropping out of the sky and settling placidly on either side of the railroad tracks that run parallel to this storehouse of knowledge.
Unlike the vehicles streaming by on an adjacent street, the birds are in no hurry to resume their flight. They seem content to just forage around the graveled banks supporting the bed of tracks. Their tiny heads bob in unison as they retrieve miniscule morsels of food from the ground (possibly dispersed seeds of grain deposited from the cars of prairie wheat that plodded through earlier in the day).
My eyes divert from the feeding birds to the task at hand. After a momentary pause, I glance once again through the spacious window and notice that the birds have suddenly disappeared from my view. Apparently, their focus was disturbed by the intrusion of three teenage skateboarders ambling by. Not to be undaunted, as soon as the skateboarders roll out of sight, the same flock of birds descends on the banks of the train tracks and continues their quest for a mid-afternoon snack.
The pleasant distraction on the rail line gives me pause to think of the simple joys of life. In the sometimes hectic pace of our life, it is easy to miss the sweet serendipity of just drinking in our surroundings.
Mary Webb once wrote: “The well of Providence is deep. It’s the buckets we bring to it that are small.” I think life opens up for us (i.e. we gain a deeper sense of fulfillment) when we increase the size of our bucket en route to the well of Providence.
But how can we increase the size of our bucket? In other words, how can we lead a more abundant life? For me, the answer is to enrich our life with a sense of boldness – not reckless abandon, but a certain joie de vivre that adds more zing to our day. Another key component in the formula for attracting abundance is the simple practice of gratitude. The famous Persian poet, Rumi, had it right when he said: “Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of our life.” What a beautiful thought!
Recently, I gave a ten minute inspirational speech to our local Toastmasters club. The title of my talk was, “Are You Getting a Grip on Your Potential.” As part of my presentation, I spent some time talking about the power of gratitude, but I also encouraged my listeners to heed the advice of the famous poet, Emily Dickinson. The reference from Ms. Dickinson was: “I dwell in possibility.”
With an attitude of dwelling in possibility, we can’t help but give more credence to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words: “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Leonard Quilty is a guidance counsellor with the Centre for Learning@Home in Okotoks, Alberta. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.inspiredtoteach.com.